I just stumbled across this piece out of Houston, which says the Texas Department of Transportation has submitted docs to the feds asking for around $43 million to expedite that long-discussed and even longer-debated Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail line. I called Jennifer Moczygemba, who oversees the Texas Rail Plan at TxDOT, to confirm. And she said: Absolutely.
Not only that, but she walked me through all the docs that accompanied the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail applications, which were due to the Federal Railroad Administration by Monday. (I would read this one first, if I were you.)
Says Moczygemba, some of the money would go toward preliminary engineering and environmental analysis necessary for choosing the best route between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston for a train that would travel at 150 miles per hour. She tells Unfair Park that creating a rail line between North Texas and Houston is "definitely a priority," but that there's been little money available to study the feasibility of such a line.
"We do have money to look at Dallas to San Antonio, which we got from the last round of applications," she says. "And we're advancing the Oklahoma City to South Texas line. But Dallas to Houston, we hadn't gotten any money. There aren't a lot of cities in between to require a detailed corridor analysis, but the feasibility study would look at routes that would include the BSNF or something else that runs roughly parallel to I-45."
She says the money would allow for a route study, which would then be taken to the public for further thoughts on where the line should and would run. She says that once the preferred alternative is determined, then the state would "develop a public-private partnership" to get the train moving. I asked her: Is she referring to the Central Japan Railway Company's presentation down in Houston last September?
"They're interested, which is why we're moving forward, and there may be others," she says. "So we're looking at the opportunity to determine best possible route through the public involvement process, and then take that to a public private partnership."